Kymberly Martin
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Easier access for vision impaired to Albert EFTPOS machines

Legal action challenging the accessibility of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) touchscreen ‘Albert’ EFTPOS machines for people who are blind or vision impaired has been settled. The CBA has agreed to introduce a range of changes to ensure better accessibility of the machines and committing to accessibility in future product development.

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In 2016, former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes and Nadia Mattiazzo, who are both blind, launched a discrimination case against the CBA, arguing a touchscreen device used in many stores and restaurants was virtually impossible for them to use safely and securely.

In settling the discrimination claim, the CBA acknowledged the difficulty Innes, Mattiazzo and other people who are blind or vision impaired have experienced using Albert’s touchscreen technology to enter their PINs.

The CBA will release an upgrade to the Albert’s software which includes accessibility enhancements, following the feedback provided by Innes, Mattiazzo and members of Blind Citizens Australia.

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Mattiazzo said it was important that technology like this allowed people with disability to fully participate in public life. “We have been raising these issues since 2016 and appreciate the bank has listened to our feedback and is taking steps to improve the accessibility of the Albert,” she said.

Innes too has commended the bank for listening to feedback and making these improvements. “Most importantly, the bank has committed to ensuring accessibility will be a key requirement of product development in future,” he said. “I look forward working together with CBA and the banking industry to identify accessibility solutions, including exploring emerging technologies such as tactile overlays, which may offer a simple and practical answer to this issue.”

The CBA has also endorsed the Australian Banking Association Accessibility Principles for Banking Services and agreed to roll out additional training for merchants to increase awareness of the Albert machine’s enhanced accessibility feature.

This includes training sessions in capital cities, an instructive video for merchants, and reminders on the CBA’s invoices to merchants about how to use the accessibility feature.

Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) represented Innes and Mattiazzo in their case against the bank, which was backed by Grata Fund, and settled on December 18, 2018.

PIAC senior solicitor Michelle Cohen said new technology promised great benefits to consumers, but it has to be inclusive and accessible. “This must be part of the design process from the beginning. We hope this case and the CBA’s commitment to accessibility in future product development sends a strong message,” she said.

The CBA thanked Innes and Mattiazzo for working collaboratively to help address their concerns. In a statement the bank said: “CBA is committed to providing the best possible experience for our customers and community and will ensure accessibility remains a key requirement of product development in the future.”

Legal action challenging the accessibility of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) touchscreen ‘Albert’ EFTPOS machines for people who are blind or vision impaired has been settled. The CBA has agreed to introduce a range of changes to ensure better accessibility of the and committing to accessibility in future product development.

In 2016, former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes and Nadia Mattiazzo, who are both blind, launched a discrimination case against the CBA, arguing a touchscreen device used in many stores and restaurants was virtually impossible for them to use safely and securely.

In settling the discrimination claim, the CBA acknowledged the difficulty Innes, Mattiazzo and other people who are blind or vision impaired have experienced using Albert’s touchscreen technology to enter their PINs.

The CBA will release an upgrade to the Albert’s software which includes accessibility enhancements, following the feedback provided by Innes, Mattiazzo and members of Blind Citizens Australia.

Mattiazzo said it was important that technology like this allowed people with disability to fully participate in public life. “We have been raising these issues since 2016 and appreciate the bank has listened to our feedback and is taking steps to improve the accessibility of the Albert,” she said.

Innes too has commended the bank for listening to feedback and making these improvements. “Most importantly, the bank has committed to ensuring accessibility will be a key requirement of product development in future,” he said. “I look forward working together with CBA and the banking industry to identify accessibility solutions, including exploring emerging technologies such as tactile overlays, which may offer a simple and practical answer to this issue.”

The CBA has also endorsed the Australian Banking Association Accessibility Principles for Banking Services and agreed to roll out additional training for merchants to increase awareness of the Albert machine’s enhanced accessibility feature.

This includes training sessions in capital cities, an instructive video for merchants, and reminders on the CBA’s invoices to merchants about how to use the accessibility feature.

Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) represented Innes and Mattiazzo in their case against the bank, which was backed by Grata Fund, and settled on December 18, 2018.

PIAC senior solicitor Michelle Cohen said new technology promised great benefits to consumers, but it has to be inclusive and accessible. “This must be part of the design process from the beginning. We hope this case and the CBA’s commitment to accessibility in future product development sends a strong message,” she said.

The CBA thanked Innes and Mattiazzo for working collaboratively to help address their concerns. In a statement the bank said: “CBA is committed to providing the best possible experience for our customers and community and will ensure accessibility remains a key requirement of product development in the future.”